BALTIMORE - OCTOBER 11: Ray Lewis #52 of the Baltimore Ravens meditates on the bench before the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium on October 11, 2009 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Bengals defeated the Ravens 17-14. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
Whether you like Ray Lewis or not, there is no denying he is one of the greatest middle linebackers to ever play in the NFL. His career numbers and accomplishments speak for themselves. Lewis has been to 13 Pro Bowls and has won two Super Bowls. When the Baltimore Ravens won it all in 2001, he was named Super Bowl MVP.
With all that in mind, you would assume there is no way the 17-year veteran was any more nervous than the average player heading into Super Bowl XLVII against the San Francisco 49ers. Former Ravens defensive end Trevor Pryce says that would be a poor assumption.
“I think he played with a case of the nerves,” Pryce told Jim Rome on Monday. “I think he had the yips. I really do.”
Pryce, who played four seasons alongside Lewis, said he has never seen anything like that from the future Hall of Famer. He also said he believes the emotions of the game became too much for Lewis to handle.
“He had it bad; he didn’t look like himself, even his new self,” Pryce said. “Forget his old self, that guy’s gone, that guy’s named Patrick Willis. But even the guy he was last week, he wasn’t that guy. He had a case of it bad, badly. It was almost like he was just hoping let’s get this over with.
“Half of his playoff check should go to Dannell Ellerbe for making that last play on that last fade route. The other half to Greg Roman, the 49ers offensive coordinator.”
Lewis recorded only four total tackles in the Super Bowl, so it was certainly his least productive game of the postseason from a stats standpoint. That being said, I find it hard to believe that he would have been as nervous as Pryce insists he was. He got beat on a couple of plays, but that’s what happens when you’re 37 years old playing against guys in their prime. Maybe the whole deer antler spray fiasco rattled him more than we thought. Whatever the case, he’s still a two-time Super Bowl champion who gets to go out on top.
Audio of Pryce’s interview can be heard here.
H/T Game On!
Photo credit: Evan Habeeb-US PRESSWIRE
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